Thursday, January 20, 2011

SNOW DAY: A top ten simple pleasure!

(author and son enjoying their snow day) 
When reflecting upon the top ten simple pleasures in life, “snow day” comes to mind.  Nothing says fun like an unexpected day off from your job, work or everyday schedule.  In fact, as a child, the only time I recall my older brother hugging me was when school was cancelled due to snow.  We were in the kitchen listening to WRGB list the snow closings and when Galway was among the listed; my brother grabbed me and jumped up and down with me in his embrace.  It stands out as a memory.  Now hugs and kisses are a natural part of our hellos and goodbyes. 
Everyone loves a snow day, including my younger son’s principal.  He came home from school on Tuesday, January 11th,  with the precise formula to ensure a snow day; 1) toss ice cubes in the toilet and flush, 2) place a spoon under pillow before bed and 3)wear your pajamas backwards.  Easy enough.  When I asked him the source of his information, he replied “Our principal, Dr. Messier.”  What fun!  I guess she was up for a day off too.
Sure enough the formula worked.  Wednesday morning before 7am, my younger son crawled into bed with me with his pajamas on backwards  and at the same time my husband walked in announcing that school was indeed closed. My younger son’s eyes grew wide as he exclaimed, “It worked.” Flush with success from his snow day recipe, my younger son snuggled in for some additional sleep, my husband got up and my teenage son slept away oblivious to the good news.  At 7:30am my husband received the news that his day had also been altered.  He is directing a show for Schenectady children’s theater and his 9 am rehearsal was off.
A couple of hours later, as we had all eventually gotten up and enjoyed some pancakes, the only down side of a snow day reared its chilly head.  SHOVELLING.  After some grumbling by the 8 and 14 year old, we all donned our snow pants, boots, coats, gloves, hats and wool socks.  Clearing our walkways and driveways is no easy feat, as we have 200 feet of sidewalk, plus interior paths and our driveway.  Couple this with the fact that we opted not to purchase a snow blower but have 5 shovels instead. Our reasoning is exercise and the environment.   I have many times since, regretted the absence of a snow blower, but I’m stubborn, and have yet to cave in.
 When we first moved here in February of 2005 from New York City, my mother-in-law gave us a generous gift certificate to the store All Seasons in Glenville.  I wasn’t interested in a snow blower and asked the man if he had anything that was easy on the environment but would get the job done.  He replied nonchalantly, “That would be a shovel.”  Hmmmm .   Well, since we had a fat gift certificate, we ended up buying an electric shovel and came back a year later for a generator, after the ice storm of 2006.
So – we shovel and manage to get the job done by 2pm and decide to head on over to Congress Park for sledding.  Hubbie and the kids are on foot and I cross country ski over.  At this point, our evening teaching gig in Cohoes is still on and as we are heading down the first hill, we receive a call from the organizer asking if we plan on teaching swing that night and more or less suggesting that we don’t.  We feel that we would like to continue to take the day off and decide not to teach.  What a day.
Friends meet up with us in the park and we slide, sleigh and saucer our way down three different slopes.  I ski around a bit as well and my husband enjoys his newish snow shoes.  My eldest son has brought a shovel to the park to try and ride that down a hill but it doesn’t pan out.  Instead we use the shovel to create a padded landing for the bottom of the hill. 
After two hours of sledding, we are ready for the final reward of a snow day; hot chocolate and food.  We all head back to our home on White St.  and indulge in hot chocolate, pizza, wings and a little wine and beer for the adults. It seems not everyone had a day off and we are grateful that Spring Street deli accommodates us with a delivery.  All sledders are famished and the wings in particular go quickly.  No one it seems really had lunch.
 How does a gal who is allergic to wheat dairy and soy handle that menu?  I adjust.  Hot chocolate is out as it has milk in the mix.  Pizza is out for the wheat crust and dairy filled cheese but I am able to have a couple of wings.  I inquired upon ordering and was told there was no wheat, dairy or soy in the wing marinade.  I whip up some pasta with garlic and broccoli and pick a couple of mushrooms and sausage off my husband’s pizza.  Beer is out, cause of the wheat, but I am happy with a little crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
The Saratoga snow day ends with a feeling of pure satisfaction.  We shoveled, we sled, and we shook up our schedules.  My youngest goes to bed wearing his pajamas backwards again, hopeful of another day such as this one.
Epilogue:  Less than a week later on Tuesday January 18th, at 6:50 am, my teenage son walks quietly into my bedroom, where my eight year old and I are sleeping and whispers, “Schools closed.”  My youngest hugs me in celebration and then reaches his arms out to his brother and they share an embrace.

Enjoy your snow days!
Diane Lachtrupp

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